January 1st is only a few days away, so you may be thinking of New Year’s resolutions to help kick start your 2017. Resolutions can be great in many ways – they help to motivate you, stay focused, and possibly kick a bad habit or increase a good one! Goal setting is also great this time of year, because it opens you up to new experiences and going for something you want.

Smart Goal Setting. An old trick used in elementary school, but still useful today!

Although seemingly similar, resolutions and goals are not one in the same. Resolutions can be great and truly help you; however, the major con of a resolution, is that once you think you have “slipped up” or “failed,” you are less likely to stick to that resolution and it can fade away. On the other hand, with goal setting, you have already set yourself up to work for something and strive for something new, which may not always come easy, but you can still have a plan and take actionable steps to achieve your goal or goals. As a result, goals are easier to actually track and stick to, versus resolutions (the image above is a great example of the actionability of goals).

Now that you are ready to set your goals, where should you start?

Use the step-by-step process below to help guide you through your goal setting.

1.) First and foremost, grab a pen and piece of paper. Write your goals down! This is something that is really non-negotiable. When you can actually visualize and see your goals written out, you are more likely to accomplish them. Read more about the full power of writing goals down here.

2.) Forget everything else – clear your head. While thinking of your goals, do not let what happened this past year, or what you think might happen to you in the next year, cloud your judgement. For example, lets say you slipped and fell and hurt your back. You may think that this limits you from certain physical activities. This may be a hurdle, yes, and you do want to heal; however, do not let that stop you from writing down a goal that you want to try to achieve for when you are healed.

3.) Dream. Don’t limit yourself here! Want to learn a new language? Want to run a road race? Want to hike a mountain, travel somewhere new, or drink champagne and dine on caviar? Go ahead!

4.) Have fun. Enjoy this process. You do not have to complete it all in one sitting. Think about your goals and add and adjust as you think of them more.

5.) Write your goals down. If you have not done this yet, make sure you do it now! You can even get creative and put your goals up on a board that you can see every day (use image at bottom of post).

6.) Make a plan. If one of your goals is to run a road race, then make a plan to start a road race training so that you are running each week to build up to that goal. If this ends up being an actual goal of yours, you can use our free road race trainings here. On the other hand, if one of your goals is to learn to meditate, then download an app on your phone or research a local studio that holds guided meditations and sign up to attend.

7.) Actually plan a date(s). If you want to run a 5k, then sign up for a 5k. That way you have an actual date to work up to. If one of your goals is to just try a new restaurant, then plan a date now to go to that restaurant.

Images from two goals we completed last year: Volunteering and sponsoring a day for senior cats to get the dental work they needed for adoption, and creating a fun workout that can be done with or in honor of your furry child!

8.) Re-read. Re-read your goals often so that they stay with you.

9.) Add, adjust, and revisit. It’s okay for goals to change. Add more goals as they come to you, adjust ones that you may accomplish or want to expand upon, and revisit your goals often.

10.) Remember, you can do this. Don’t ever deny yourself or sell yourself short. It is easy to tell yourself that you cannot do something or to find an excuse. But keep working hard to accomplish your goals, and it will make you that much stronger.

Below are our own goals for 2017 (so far…)

Practice meditation and practice longer meditations, sitting for 20-30 minutes
Run a half marathon in the spring
Get better at playing the ukulele and learn to play Mele Kalikimaka

Explore using even more types of produce in my meals, and do so each week
Practice yoga inversions more (at least once a week) and finally do a headstand
Go to bed earlier – other distractions can wait – by at least 30 minutes

If you are still in need of a little inspiration here are some ideas below:
•Explore at least two new places this year
•Take more lunchtime walks
•Practice more yoga
•Workout – even if for just 10 minutes a day – do not overthink it
•Take more (or start) taking some personal days for yourself
•Be on time to things
•Add 1 cup of veggies to a meal every day
•Set up a monthly budget
•Reorganize your office or home
•Save to buy a new piece of furniture or clothing item you want
•Explore and go for a new hike
•Try a new physical activity that you have never done before (anything from swimming to skiing, or hiking, snowshoeing, paddle boarding, etc).
•Save for a vacation and go on it!

Feel free to use and print the image below to write down your goals. You can even make an extra copy to keep right on your desktop!

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